How Long Does it Take for a Tree to Grow?Local Tree Estimates
This question comes to most people’s minds when buying a tree to plant on their property. How long does it take to for a tree to fully grow? The question is quite difficult to answer as the word “tree growth” in itself contains different meanings. Trees grow vertically both ways. A tree’s roots will dig deep into the earth to spread their reach while establishing and maintaining a strong base. Above the ground we see a different picture. We see a tree growing in width and height over the years and sometimes forgot about the growth that happens underground. All trees have different growth rates and growth cycles. Some trees grow their roots all year while only their trunks and branches may grow in select seasons.
There are a lot of species of trees found throughout the world. According to the latest scientific studies, there are more than 60 thousand unique tree species on the planet. The amazing thing is that every specie has a different life span and growth rate. This leads to a wide variety of different sized trees dependent upon a variety of factors.
We can’t know the exact life span of a tree. However, we can approximate “how long it takes for a tree to grow” by keeping a few things in mind that affect the growth rate of trees. Below you will find a breakdown of the growth of a tree in so that we can better understand how long does it take for a tree to grow,
Seed Germination Stage: 1-3 Weeks
This is the initial step in the growth of a tree. Most often trees grow from seeds. Although some trees can also grow from the budding process. Tree seeds grow when they have a moist environment and favorable conditions. The seeds have a hard outer shell that breaks when it becomes soft. The moisture from the environment helps soften the shell and the tree begins to grow. Roots begin to sprout and after that, the first one or two leaves and a small embryo stem come to emerge from the seed. Over a little while longer the stem will eventually push itself out of the ground. You will now have a baby tree growing above the ground. This entire process completes within 1 to 3 weeks as long as conditions remain steady and not harmful.
Seedling and Sapling Stage: 6 Months to Several Years
Now that the seedling has been formed we can begin to watch it grow and develop out of the ground. At this point the tree will need maximum protection from environmental factors including animals, light, temperature, humidity, water, and nutrition. Over time the seedling will continue to grow taller, stronger, and more steady as the roots expand. When it gains enough height, approximately 3 feet, then it is called a sapling. A sapling has a very flexible stem and sometimes small branches. Its bark is usually smooth but it can’t grow any food. The average amount of time that a tree is in the sapling stage will vary depending on the tree. Trees with longer life spans will often have longer sapling times. For example, an Oak-tree will remain a sapling for up to five to six years.
Mature or Fruit Bearing Tree: 4 Years and Onwards
When your tree has grown more than 10 feet it can be considered a full-grown tree. Trees become mature they grow fruit, this can take between 2 to 10 years for trees with shorter life spans. For trees with life spans over 10 years the production of fruit is usually. This includes Oak trees and Pines trees. An Oaktree may take 20 – 30 years before it produces its first acorn. Acorn production peaks around 50 – 80 years. After 80 years the acorn production begins to decrease. On the other hand, a berry-producing plant with a shorter life starts producing barries after only a few years.
Ancient Trees: Over 100 Years
Older than most humans and certainly taller. Tree species can take over 100 years to fully become a mature tree. Some of these may even continue to grow after the hundred-year mark. We like to refer to them as “Ancient Trees”. The word ancient seems to encompass a level of vastness and age that is almost incomprehensible. What other living being do you know that can outlive humans by centuries? Many generations of man come and go but the trees remain.
Factors that Affect How Long it Takes for a Tree to Grow
Location is one of the most important factors in determining the growth rate of a tree. Trees that are in tropical areas have a very long life span and take quite a while to become mature. Their growth is not slow though, as they will gain more height than most other species of tree. They do however, take more time to become mature and bear fruit. Growth is supported by the tropical environment around them. They will need a lot of water for their growth which tropical climate tends to have more of. If you plant a tropical tree into an environment that is not supported by the environmental conditions it will slow down its growth and could even die. As noted early sunlight is crucial to tree growth. Sunlight is an essential source for every tree. When trees are subject to more shade than sun, a decline in the growth will occur versus trees facing the sun directly. Trees facing the sun will almost always have a faster growth rate when compared to those trees who are exposed to the sun less throughout the day.
The type of tree will play greatly into the rate at which a tree will grow. There are species with rapid growth rates that will wither away sooner. While there are others with slow growth rates that can last for decades. Below you will find a list of different tree species and their approximate life span.
- Redbud – Average of 20 – 30 years.
- Bradford Pear – Average of 20 – 30 years.
- Mexican Plum – Average of 40 years.
- Eve’s Necklace – Average of 50 years.
- Crapemyrtle – Average of 60 years.
- Cedar Elm – Average of 100+ years
- Live Oak – Average of 300 years.
- Pecan – Average of 300 years.
- American Elm – Average of 300 years.
- White Oak – Average of 600 years.
Every tree has its season when its growth becomes more and more observable. Often times harsh cold conditions will slow down the growth rate of trees. For trees constantly exposed to this the age of maturity of them maybe later on if their growth is drastically reduced each winter.
“A good rule of thumb is that if the trees in your area still have leaves, you can plant new trees. Mid-August to mid-October is an ideal time of year to plant new trees, though, that time frame can be stretched into November and December. To be 100% sure, measure soil temperature early in the morning for a few, consecutive days. If your soil is consistently 50° F or higher, you’re good to plant.” (Plant Me Green)
Trees in mountain areas usually grow in the summer season. For the trees to reach their full growth, it depends on the climate and the water available. In tropical climates with warm weather and a plentiful supply of water, a tree can become fully grown in 30 years. A tree in cooler regions may take several hundred years to reach full maturity depending upon the species of tree.
Does the tree have a steady supply of water? Is there a seasonal drought that occurs? We all know that water is important for every living being and the same goes for trees. Access to water for a tree is very important for an improved growth rate. If a tree has an easy access to the water it will grow faster, compared to a tree that is suffering from scarcity of water. A tree loses about 90% of its water (hundreds of gallons for a large mature tree) to the atmosphere every day. The remaining 10% allows it to function properly and maintain a healthy strong life.
A tree can not grow in an environment that lacks the required nutrients necessary for the growth of a tree. These nutrients are usually inside the ground but sometimes provided by humans and animals. In jungles, tree leaves fall and decay into nutrient materials. Where these nutrients aren’t available humans may use urea. Urea is an organic and stable fertilizer that can improve the quality of your soil surrounding the tree. When a tree has an abundance of nutrients it will accelerate the growth rate.
Soil provides everything that a plant or tree will need for its growth. Including the water, nutrients, and moisture for a seed to grow. Good healthy soil allows the roots of a tree to suck up water that is necessary for tree growth. If a tree is in harsh soil like the mountain ranges, rough terrain, or a snowy area then it will have reduced growth rate. If the soil is truly incompatible with the seed, the seed will not grow at all. Now consider a tree in moist and moderate soil, the tree will grow faster and will reach its maturity sooner than the one on the side of the mountains. Dry soil does not help a tree grow. Trees need moist soil to allow for proper root function. If the soil is moist but there isn’t enough of it, the tree will struggle to grow. Always make sure your tree has a sufficient amount of moist soil.
Tips To Boost Growth Rate
Most of the time trees have a consistent growth rate. However, we are able to help them along if they are struggling. Here are a few tips that might just help save your tree.
Check your Soil: Check your soil before planting a tree. Is it hard dry soil? Or is it soft and moist? Remember, you want an abundance of soft moist soil. This will help the seed grow big and strong and for the roots to continue to expand years from now.
Provide Nutrients: Provide your plant all it needs to grow. For example urea and other nutrients that will help improve the growth rate of the plant. Nutrients are usually provided in terms of fertilizers. You can use coffee grounds as a natural fertilizer to help your plants grow big and strong.
Provide Sunlight: Sunlight is among the most crucial needs of a tree, so always try to plant trees in a place where sunlight is available in the day time. This may be difficult in some areas, try to make the most out of it. If you truly can’t ensure that the soil is healthy and you are providing the tree with additional nutrients.
Protect the Trees from Harm: When the trees are small they need protection. Trees could be grazed by animals or be harmed or broken by kids or harsh winds. This protection helps the tree to keep growing at the same pace. Keep lawnmowers, electric trimmers and other items that may cause mechanical injury well away from small tree trunks and limbs. Your tree will thank you! Additionally trimming a tree can help benefit its growth rate.
Provide Water Consistently: It is common knowledge that every living thing needs a water supply to stay alive and grow. It is more crucial for your tree. Establish a watering fertilization schedule that suits the tree need and follow this schedule for better growth.
Examples of Tree Growth
Below you will find a list of different tree species and a bit more about their growth process.
Hybrid Polar Tree
Hybrid Polar Trees grow very fast and can add almost 5 to 8 feet in height per year. They are often planted in rows to be used for firewood.
Weeping Willow Tree
This tree can also grow between 4 to 7 feet per year, but its growth depends on the individual who is planting it. If it is taken care then it can grow at an even faster rate.
Quaking Aspen Tree
A Quaking Aspen tree is also among the fastest-growing trees. It is a hybrid of the polar family. Its average growth is around 3 to 6 feet per year.
White Cedar Tree
The White Cedar tree is at the top of the list for the slowest growing trees. These are the smallest conifers (cone-bearing seed plants) found in Canada and Northern America.
Oak trees grow at a very slow speed. They are so slow that they take between 30 to 40 years to become mature. There are more than six hundred species of Oak in the world.
So, How Long Does it Take for a Tree to Grow?
From the above discussion, it is clear that we can not exactly tell you how long an individual tree will take. However, we can make our predictions with strong accuracy. This question “how long will it take a tree to fully grow” can be answered indirectly on the basis of known species of the tree, factoring in soil conditions, environmental conditions, the location of the tree and the species of the tree. It is clear that if a tree is provided with what it needs it will grow according to its natural progression.